Flights to Moscow
Moscow is the capital and largest city in Russia and is in fact the seventh largest city in the world. Most famous for its amazing architecture, Moscow actually has much more to offer than just Red Square, making this a very popular and interesting tourist destination.
There are several commercial airports that accept flights to Moscow, but it’s the Sheremetyevo International Airport (airport code: SVO) that has the most international tourist traffic. This large and busy airport is 29 kilometres outside of Moscow, with shuttle buses and rail services to get you into the city. From South Africa Air France has a 1-stop flight to Moscow that transfers in Paris, and KLM makes their connection in Amsterdam. Alternatively, you can travel through Frankfurt and Warsaw if you take a flight to Moscow with Lufthansa.
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The Tourist Attractions of Moscow:
Moscow’s architecture is usually the biggest attraction of the city, featuring spectacular buildings like St Basil’s Cathedral, Red Square, and the Kremlin. There is more modern architecture to enjoy in the city too, thanks to the rule of Stalin who set about modernising Moscow but in the process tore down some of the city’s important historical structures. Now a few of those have been rebuilt, such as the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.
Red Square is at the heart of Moscow and is usually the first stop for any visitors to the city. The square itself has been here for hundreds of years and has featured heavily in Moscow’s history as many important parades and more recently cultural events and concerts have taken place here. Red Square and the Kremlin were the first sites to make it onto UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites list back in 1990.
The Kremlin is a massive fortified complex that until fairly recently was shrouded in secrecy and acted as the very representation of the government of the Soviet Union. Today it is still important for Russia and Moscow as it acts as the official residence of the President of Russia. Within its walls there are in fact four palaces and four cathedrals, highlighting just how large the complex is.
Nowadays there are several tours conducted throughout the day and you should buy tickets about an hour before the scheduled tour time to make sure you get a place.
Saint Basil’s Cathedral
Popularly known as Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow’s most famous landmark is officially called the Cathedral of Intercession of Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat.
This spectacular building was built between 1555 and 1561 on the order of Ivan IV of Russia and was constructed right at the centre of the city. It was a Russian Orthodox church but has been completely secularised and now has a museum inside.
Since his death in 1924 Lenin has been here in an embalmed state on public display. Much work goes into keeping Lenin’s body looking good, and even today thousands of people pass through the mausoleum to see the body. There’s free entrance every day of the week except Mondays and Fridays, and if you’re planning to visit Lenin’s Mausoleum in Moscow do it soon as there’s ongoing debate as to whether just to bury the body.
When Should You Visit?:
Moscow’s humid continental climate means the city has high humidity and warm weather during the summer but cold weather in the winter. There’s always something magical about seeing Red Square and its attractions in the snow, but be prepared for an average high of -4.9C in January. July is the warmest month with an average high of 23C, but summers are wetter.